Since graduating from Wimbledon School of Art in 2004, I have continued to paint and draw, alongside being part of Band of Skulls. The paintings from my degree show were used for the artwork for the band's first album Baby Darling Doll Face Honey and I have recently completed four paintings specifically for the second record. For both album covers I have worked in collaboration with the creative team at Phi, our label in Canada.
To create the final image that is used for the cover of our second album Sweet Sour the four paintings were photographed and sent to two glass artists, Cédric Ginart and Karina Guevin, who made a glass sculpture inspired by my work. The sculpture was then photographed and manipulated digitally to create the final piece, which is both related to the first album in composition and concept while also pushing the idea further by using glass. The inside of the album package will feature parts of the actual paintings.
Artwork for Band of Skulls' Sweet Sour album designed by Emma Richardson
I feel the paintings have a connection with the music as the process to making both is very similar. There is a certain element of chance and risk and starting, stopping, coming back re-thinking re-working. There are always new elements revealing themselves, in the writing process as there are with physically making the paintings. Also once we had used the paintings for the first record cover, the music suddenly had a visual identity which suited it. Using reflection and symmetry in the work creates an effect similar to a Rorschach ink blot test, allowing multiple interpretations. It is always interesting to see what different people see in the artwork; similar to people reading something different into a song lyric.
My work plays with the power of suggestion and distortion of the human form and how those forms work with each other as a composition. I was experimenting with tangled and abstracted body hybrids with a physical weight and movement and catching the figure in motion, suggesting the erotic and an animalistic struggle towards or away from something. The Rubens painting The Fall of The Damned has been a big influence along with the Surrealists idea of automatic drawing. Tensions are important in the painting, creating urgency; a cascading or descending motion or an energetic pulling apart.
I free draw a mixture of human forms onto canvas then censor parts of them with paint, or add to them with paint to create something which is both lascivious and ambiguous. Layering, hiding and revealing certain parts is important. I like the idea of an accidental brushstroke that makes the whole composition work.
Piece shown at Emma Richardson's Cruisin for a Bruisin' art exhibition last month
Other influences include: Willem de Kooning, Francis Bacon, Philip Guston, Dante, Goya, Jenny Saville, Hans Bellmer, George Bataille, The Surrealists, Lucian Freud, Chris Cunningham, Greek Mythology, Cecily Brown, Cy Twombly, John Martin, Rubens, Glenn Brown, Marquis de Sade, Michel Foucault, Ralph Steadman.
Our new album, 'Sweet Sour' is out now, buy here